DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 30, 2020

Joseph Bryan Robertson Sentenced to 27 Years for Distribution of Methamphetamine

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On November 24, 2020, Joseph Bryan Robertson, aka “Chief,” 52, of Elizabethton, Tennessee was sentenced to 324 months imprisonment by the Honorable Clifton L. Corker, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.

Robertson pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Robertson was sentenced to serve 324 months (27 years) in prison, followed by five years’ supervised release.

A joint investigation of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), uncovered a large group of individuals, led by Robertson, who were obtaining large quantities of crystal methamphetamine from sources in Atlanta and Knoxville and distributing it in northeast Tennessee. Robertson ruled the group through fear and violence. Robertson directed multiple kidnappings and violent assaults of individuals that owed drug debts to the organization. Multiple individuals were held captive at gunpoint, tied up, kicked, and beaten with fists and clubs, resulting in serious injuries.

Robertson was previously sentenced, in 2006, to serve a 78-month sentence in federal prison, also for the distribution of methamphetamine.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force was a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gregory Bowman represented the United States.

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Nashville Field Division